2,937 new dwellings approved in 2014

2014 saw the highest number of maisonettes approved since 2008 and the second highest number of new units resulting from conversions of older buildings since 2000

The number of new dwellings approved by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority has shot up from 2,707 in 2013 to 2,937 in 2014.

But the number of permits for new dwellings remains slightly lower than in 2012 when 3,064 new dwellings were approved, and a far cry from the 11,343 dwellings approved in 2007, according to official MEPA statistics.

The number of approved dwellings had incrementally increased every year from 3,970 in 2002 to 11,343 in 2007. But the number of approved dwellings declined sharply to 6,836 in 2008, declining every year till 2013 when it fell to 2,707.

2014 has seen the highest number of maisonettes approved since 2008. A total of 414 maisonettes were approved in 2014, compared to 352 in 2013 and just 298 in 2012.  The number of apartments has also increased, from 2,062 in 2013 to 2,221 in 2014.  But this is still considerably lower than the 2,489 apartments approved in 2012.  

Only 68 new residential units were approved outside development zones.  

These represented 2.3% of all newly approved dwellings, down from 3% in 2013 but more than the 1.4% approved in 2012.

Permits for ODZ dwellings are expected to increase in the next years in view of the new policy regulating rural development, which came into effect in September 2014.  The policy facilitates the conversion of existing farm buildings into dwellings.

Significantly in 2014 most dwellings (64%) were approved on already developed land. Only 36% were approved on virgin land. This was the lowest percentage of dwellings approved on undeveloped land since 2002.  

While this may indicate a decreased take up of undeveloped land it also points at increased pressure on village and town centres, which are seeing an intensification of development. The statistics do not refer to non-residential developments like those related to tourism or agriculture.

2014 saw MEPA approving 505 dwellings resulting from conversions of 545 older properties. This represents the second highest number of conversions approved since 2005 when 532 new units were converted from 233 older units.  

1,365 dwellings were created as a result of redevelopment projects resulting in the demolition of 354 older properties. 

The number of units created from re-development projects remains lower than in 2011, when 1,592 units were created, but higher than in 2012 and 2013.